Fonehouse franchises frustrated by HMRC

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Retailer Fonehouse is struggling to see through new store openings as HMRC holds up issue of new VAT numbers to franchisees

Fonehouse is on the verge of adding eight new partners to its franchise programme but has been left frustrated with delays by HMRC in providing the new starters with VAT numbers.

The retailer opened stores in Liverpool and Leicester this month to take its franchise shop count to 52 but has been left frustrated in its attempts to get reach the 60 mark due to the delay from HMRC.

Fonehouse managing director Clive Bayley (pictured) said: “We’re still in the early 50s in regards to the number of franchise stores we have. We’re gunning for 60 before the end of the year and would be there if these new partners were given VAT numbers.

“Unfortunately as our industry has been associated with VAT fraud in the past, HMRC are being very careful as to who it provides VAT numbers to. We’ve been trying to obtain these numbers for almost four months so it’s a very time consuming process.”

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